Friday, January 27, 2012

History Wars on Tommy Douglas

My observation last year, in my Canada's History column, that the Royal Ontario Museum's History Wars lecture series was fun but too present-minded and sensation-seeking for an institution of the ROM's stature  (you can find the column here) produced a spectacularly furious response from series impresarios Michael Bliss and Jack Granatstein in the pages of the mag.

But even then I said History Wars had potential, and this week's debate on the legacy of Tommy Douglas and the state of Canadian medicare, in which historians Michael Bliss and Gregory Marchildon took opposing sides, seemed to bear that out. History Wars is still pretty present-minded -- the ROM doesn't do Canadian history with anything like the seriousness with which it will treat the Maya or the Ming.  But two skilled Canadianists on a topic of interest and importance?  No complaints.
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